As we continue to practice safety during the pandemic, many have noticed increased dry eyes from wearing masks throughout the day. As we exhale, our breath escapes the mask beneath, through the sides and above the mask. This continuous air flow upwards out of the mask can evaporate tears quickly resulting in mask related dry eyes.
An easy tip is to ensure the top of the mask is sealed as tightly as possible. This may involve creasing the metal wire at the top of the mask to fit snugly around your nose bridge to ensure there is no gap between your skin and the mask. If this does not adhere to your skin as tightly as you would like, you can use surgical tape to ensure the mask stays in place. You may even want to place a folded tissue to block the space between the mask and your skin.
For many who have suffered from dry eyes before mask-wear, this additional accessory has made dry eyes worse. Additional therapies may be required such as preservative free moisturizing drops or ointments to ensure eye health and comfort is maintained. See your optometrist for a personalized plan on ensuring your eyes are comfortable during this season where masks are necessary and important.
Written by Dr. Rachel Ng